August 18th, 2007

Chris Keeley

Blows Against the Empire

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2007/08/20/070820crbo_books_gopnik

Dick’s mixture of satire and fantasy has inspired countless films.

Dick’s mixture of satire and fantasy has inspired countless films.

The return of Philip K. Dick.

by Adam Gopnik

There’s nothing more exciting to an adolescent reader than an unknown genre writer who speaks to your condition and has something great about him. The Ace paperback cover promises mere thrills, and the writing provides real meaning. The combination of evident value and apparent secrecy makes Elmore Leonard fans feel more for their hero than Borges lovers are allowed to feel for theirs. When they tell you it’s going to be good, what more can you hope for it to be?

Eventually, enough of these secret fans grow up and get together, and the writer is designated a Genius, acquiring all the encumbrances of genius: fans, notes, annotated editions, and gently disparaging comprehensive reviews. Since genre writing can support only one genius at a time—and no genre writer ever becomes just a good writer; it’s all prophet or all hack—the guy is usually resented by his peers and their partisans even as the establishment hails him. No one hates the rise of Elmore Leonard so much as a lover of Ross Macdonald.

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Chris Keeley

The Black Sites

The Black Sites

A rare look inside the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program.

by Jane Mayer


In the war on terror, one historian says, the C.I.A. “didn’t just bring back the old psychological techniques—they perfected them.”

In the war on terror, one historian says, the C.I.A. “didn’t just bring back the old psychological techniques—they perfected them.”

In March, Mariane Pearl, the widow of the murdered Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, received a phone call from Alberto Gonzales, the Attorney General. At the time, Gonzales’s role in the controversial dismissal of eight United States Attorneys had just been exposed, and the story was becoming a scandal in Washington. Gonzales informed Pearl that the Justice Department was about to announce some good news: a terrorist in U.S. custody—Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Al Qaeda leader who was the primary architect of the September 11th attacks—had confessed to killing her husband. (Pearl was abducted and beheaded five and a half years ago in Pakistan, by unidentified Islamic militants.) The Administration planned to release a transcript in which Mohammed boasted, “I decapitated with my blessed right hand the head of the American Jew Daniel Pearl in the city of Karachi, Pakistan. For those who would like to confirm, there are pictures of me on the Internet holding his head.”

Pearl was taken aback. In 2003, she had received a call from Condoleezza Rice, who was then President Bush’s national-security adviser, informing her of the same news. But Rice’s revelation had been secret. Gonzales’s announcement seemed like a publicity stunt. Pearl asked him if he had proof that Mohammed’s confession was truthful; Gonzales claimed to have corroborating evidence but wouldn’t share it. “It’s not enough for officials to call me and say they believe it,” Pearl said. “You need evidence.” (Gonzales did not respond to requests for comment.)

The circumstances surrounding the confession of Mohammed, whom law-enforcement officials refer to as K.S.M., were perplexing. He had no lawyer. After his capture in Pakistan, in March of 2003, the Central Intelligence Agency had detained him in undisclosed locations for more than two years; last fall, he was transferred to military custody in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. There were no named witnesses to his initial confession, and no solid information about what form of interrogation might have prodded him to talk, although reports had been published, in the Times and elsewhere, suggesting that C.I.A. officers had tortured him. At a hearing held at Guantánamo, Mohammed said that his testimony was freely given, but he also indicated that he had been abused by the C.I.A. (The Pentagon had classified as “top secret” a statement he had written detailing the alleged mistreatment.) And although Mohammed said that there were photographs confirming his guilt, U.S. authorities had found none. Instead, they had a copy of the video that had been released on the Internet, which showed the killer’s arms but offered no other clues to his identity.

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Chris Keeley

stop bush

Stop Bush poster 

"Russia, Peru and Vietnam joined APEC in 1997-98, bringing its membership
to 21. A 10-year moratorium on membership will end this year, and
Colombia, Costa Rica and Ecuador have applied to join.

"Of the remaining 18 members Chile, Mexico, Canada and the US are from
the Americas; China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are from
East Asia; Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and
Brunei are from Southeast Asia; and Australia, New Zealand and Papua New
Guinea are from Oceania." http://www.stopbush2007.org/node/10

 

When APEC comes to town

Jemma Bailey

 
In 2007, Australia will be the happy host country of APEC – the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation. APEC is yet another ingredient in the WTO / IMF / WB / BIT / FTA alphabet soup that serves up a bitter brew of unregulated free trade and corporate control, regardless of the social and environmental consequences.
 
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